Recycling prices and market commentary: 10 May 2019

HDPE bottles recycling
HDPE bottles baled for recycling

The recycling industry reported that it was another quiet week this week with trading volumes still low.

Partly, this was due to a bank holiday on Monday and many people deciding to take time off for the rest of the week. But it was also a consequence of there not being too much demand in the market also. This was the case across most materials.


Packaging plastic grades retain strong interest from domestic and European markets, boosted by the strong PRN/PERN value. But with many European markets also affected by May Day holidays, this market was quiet this week too.

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Paper grades continue to be affected by lack of demand from Chinese buyers, with other markets not offering particularly strong competition either. Both OCC and mixed fell again this week (more on that below).

Metal grades also saw some easing, with steel grades, copper and brass all seeing falls.

Against the dollar the pound remained the same as a week ago at $1.30. While against the euro it was also unchanged at €1.16.

Just a reminder that the consultation on reforming the PRN/PERN system closes on Monday and can be found here

Recycled plastics

Demand for film grades remains strong into Europe in particular, with the PERN value really helping to make UK material attractive.

As mentioned above, European May Day bank holidays quietened the market a little this week, but it is expected to return to normal strong demand conditions next week.

Bottle grades are also seeing good demand, with price remaining high, but stable at the moment.

Interest from the recycling industry is also picking up in lower value grades, again mostly into Europe with some domestic purchasing too.

Forecast prices


Recycled paper

Indian and Indonesian buyers appeared to be the best buyers of OCC this week, taking the grade at around £65 per tonne. However, they also wanted it to be equivalent to Chinese specification.

There was a touch of spot buying activity from the Chinese mill groups this week, but not from all of them, and prices were typically below £60 per tonne, and even as low as £55 in some instances.

There isn’t too much optimism around at the moment in the market, and the view is that there won’t be a pick up any time soon.

People in the recycling industry will be looking to see if the Chinese Government responds to the increase in tariffs imposed by the US Government. Currently, US recyclers must pay a 10% tariff to send recycled paper to China, and despite this, US material remains very cheap. If the Chinese Government increases this to 25%, then it would make US material less attractive, and focus might switch more to UK and Europe.

Mixed paper also fell in value with UK, European and South East Asian buyers having less interest in the material this week.

Forecast prices


Recycled metals

Demand for scrap metals fell this week. Copper grades lost £100 in value, brass fell by £50 and steel by £10 including cans.

Recycling prices

For recycled paper prices, click here

For recycled plastic prices, click here

For recycled metal prices, click here

For recycled glass prices, click here

For PRN/PERN prices, click here

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